Sykes Holiday Cottages refuses to refund bookings in Cornwall during coronavirus pandemic

Holidaymakers have been left bewildered after saying they were told to pay extra to reschedule their cancelled trips to Cornwall[1] during the coronavirus pandemic[2]. A number of Sykes Holiday Cottages customers, which has almost 2,000 properties in the county on its books, were left gutted after having to cancel trips due to government restrictions on non-essential travel. Benjamin Turner, a primary school teacher, was due to travel to Cornwall this weekend and paid GBP700 for accommodation through Sykes.

He said that despite the trip being cancelled, he was told he would need to pay an extra GBP250 to change to the same dates next year. He said: "My partner and I had been looking forward to a holiday for sometime.

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"But being a key worker, it was necessary for myself to work through the holidays in order to support children of key workers and the most vulnerable. "We are both utterly appalled about how Sykes Cottages have acted during a global pandemic, not offering refunds and purposefully hiking prices up when you try to amend the date for the coming year."

He added: "We obviously can't travel to our accommodation this Saturday and don't intend to. We haven't cancelled, they have, but will not issue a refund or a change of date without increasing the prices. "We can't afford the added extra, so we have just had to let it be.

Gutted but there is nothing more we could do."

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There is more information, news and advice about the COVID-19 virus on our website here[4]. Another customer, Kev Jackson, said he had booked a trip through Sykes Cottages to visit family in the Praa Sands area next month and took out insurance when it was booked in January.

He added: "Obviously, as the Government has now placed the country on restricted travel, and us not wishing to bring any disease down to Cornwall, we yesterday looked into the possibility of cancellation. "However, this is not possible as Sykes do not under any circumstances offer refunds. "I would just like your readers, and possible holiday cottage owners, to be aware of how Sykes Holiday Cottages are acting, how they are refusing to discuss refunds, and are simply profiteering from the current crisis that the country finds itself in."

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Kev added that he had been unable to find an email address for the company, claiming that it only advertises a live chat, "which has not been manned for a number of days". He added that others had attempted to call Sykes but had in "some cases been on hold for up to three hours until it cuts you off". He continued: "A very high percentage of these customer are then offered the same property next year for in some cases 200-300% increases in the cost.

My personal cottage is not available to book until Jan 2022, which is simply too far in advance for me to take. "A number of Cornish holiday let owners have been approached and are simply not aware that the practices by Sykes are going on - whilst Sykes use excuses like 'it's not us, it's the owners of the cottages'. "A number of the owners details are hidden - as in my case - so I cannot contact them directly, so have no idea if they understand what Sykes are doing to ruin future bookings."

A third customer said: "I'm supposed to be going out of Cornwall to Yorkshire in a few weeks, obviously I won't. Having trouble with Sykes Cottages refusing refunds and just offering rebooking at higher prices next year." A Facebook group called Sykes Cottages Unhappy Customers Page[6] has scores of complaints from people about their dealings with the business.

Cornwall Live contacted Sykes Holiday Cottages for a statement.

A spokesman for the company said it was unable to respond today but would be providing a statement tomorrow.

References

  1. ^ Cornwall (www.cornwalllive.com)
  2. ^ coronavirus pandemic (www.cornwalllive.com)
  3. ^ here (www.facebook.com)
  4. ^ here (slack-redir.net)
  5. ^ Click here to show your support. (www.thanksamillionnhs.co.uk)
  6. ^ Facebook group called Sykes Cottages Unhappy Customers Page (www.facebook.com)

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